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Pigging today is a mature, sophisticated science at last.

A year ago, we wrote in Pipeline & Gas Journal that pipeline pigging as an industry has come of age. It is now a satisfying time for those who have worked for pigging to take its rightful place in the hierarchy of pipeline technologies. Pigging is now a consideration of the highest importance in new pipeline planning at eve stage and in the service and maintenance programs of every operator. After years of adolescent scrambling for recognition, we now enjoy the spectacle of pigging as a mature, adult innovation and the continuous development of ever more sophisticated, yet cost-effective, systems and equipment. In this article, we review a number of them that have recently caught the eye.

General And Regular Pigging

Pigs Unlimited has added a frill line of rental launchers and receivers to its product line. They offer a more practical and safer method for handling pipeline pigs. However, the cost is sometimes too high to justify purchase, especially for a one-time, temporary use. Rental rates include daily, weekly, and monthly periods, and can also be applied to the sale price if the customer wishes to purchase later on. Units are constructed of carbon steel and equipped with all connections for turnkey use. Each unit is equipped with a hinged threaded closure. This allows for quick and easy access for pig launching and retrieval. Closures are also equipped with pressure warning devices to ensure safety of personnel. Stock sizes range from 2-to-36 inches and are rated at ANSI 150. For higher pressure applications, adapter flanges are available.

Pig detector adaptors can also be added to ensure successful launching and retrieval of pigs. Spool pieces can be supplied for mating to higher ANSI-rated lines. In addition to standard connections, the launchers/receivers are equipped with nozzle connections for use in the water industry. These units can be used with foam, solid-cast or steel pigs. For sphere applications, launching braces are available. Detailed step-by-step procedures are included for optimum operation. The rental options are only available in the U.S. Other solutions are available for international applications.

With its latest range of Advantage cleaning pigs, Enduro Pipeline Services is enhancing cleaning, batching and purging of pipelines, and for removing paraffin and scale they offer a new option--a scraper plow blade. Transmitter mountings are available on these and also on bi-directional and Urecast pigs. The latter are of one-piece molded construction with five sealing points and are said to be extremely tough and long-lasting, allowing optimum seal and scraper efficiency. New pig poppers from Enduro are said to herald a new' era in pig signaling. Currently there are two versions manual and lighted--but an electrical version will be launched soon.

A group of caliper tools has been introduced into Pipeline Engineering's range. Available in sizes 6-48 inches, all tools are equipped with the latest electronics. These have display and interpretation software that enable the field technician to produce an on-site report for the client before leaving. The tools are said to be lightweight and robust and can run in most mediums.

With 30 years of experience in supplying cleaning tools, PE has now founded a Production Cleaning Consultancy Division to assist clients with day-to-day cleaning problems and writing of operational cleaning procedures. The new division has already worked successfully in different parts of the world. PE's Solutions Division, which designs custom equipment for difficult pipeline configurations, has recently built and tested specialist cleaning tools for multidiameter and low-flow pipeline systems.

Hand-Launch Pig

Newly brought into Knapp Polly Pigs' wide-ranging products array and currently awaiting patents is the Knapp Hand-Launch Pig. Said to be easy to use, one size fits all pipes of that nominal diameter. So a 6-inch hand-launch pig can be inserted by hand into all 6-inch pipe from Class 50 ductile iron pipe to 6-inch Schedule 160 steel pipe. The Knapp Hand-Launch Pig saves operators the usually considerable expense of launchers because a simple line-sized wye fitting with a removable blind flange is enough to get the pig into the pipeline. The pigs are manufactured using urethane foam and elastomer that is inherently sorer than the pipeline material so no damage can ensue.

Also getting the thumbs-up from operators with serious paraffin and/or scale deposits down their lines is the Knapp Cutter Head Pig. The cutter heads, sized to the pipe's internal diameter, are mounted on a conical cup one size smaller than the pipe's ID. Their bolting patterns and center hole dimensions can be adapted to most existing mandrels.

Developments continue to enhance UraFlex Manufacturing's ranges. The latest Uraflex I (2-36 inches) and Ureflex II (4-24 inches) ranges of solid cast polyurethane pigs are said to be ideal for clearing liquids from wet gas systems, water from product lines and paraffin from crude oil lines, Then, the Uraflex III bi-directional range (2-12 inches) operates well at very low" pressures, through short radius elbows, and full opening valves. Recovering valuable product that would he wasted in product changeovers is reported to be one of the advantages of using these designs.

Inline has just begun to offer an interesting new pig launch/receive valve. This is a ball valve that has a side cavity to allow the loading and unloading of a pig. A body plug is removed, the pig loaded, the plug replaced and the pig launched. It is said to be very cost-effective, there are, however, important space and time considerations.

Pig Tracking And Signaling

Soon after unveiling its small CD42-T0 transmitter, CDI has admitted yet another member into its transmitter family, the CD42-T0AR. This tiny new transmitter is a pressure-ready device capable of traversing lines as small as two inches in diameter while being tracked with the standard CDI CD42-R receiver. The CD42-TOAR is flexible in other ways. It incorporates CDI's microprocessor-driven transmitter circuit, option ally allowing for the waveform to be programmed by the operator using custom AutoGraph software. In this manner, it can distinguish between multiple pigs in a line, or simply spread the pulses out to increase the CD42-T0AR's seven-day battery life. If the job requires that the pigs be loaded now and launched some days later, the system can be programmed to bring out the CD42-T0AR when needed, thus making significant savings in battery usage.

From Pipeline Inspection Company there is a new pig track sensor (PTS) that operators can mount on a pipe, either permanently or temporarily, to sense and signal a pig's passage through the line. Non-intrusive, it is housed in a NEMA 7 enclosure. Powered by a 120V, 60Hz input or batteries, there is an optional visual indicator that can be attached. For pig passage benchmarking, there is CDI's CD47 time based system. This uses an onboard GPS satellite downlink receiver to provide, it is claimed, very stable and accurate passage timings, especially for intelligent corrosion-inspection pigs. Operators can record multiple passages to the nearest millisecond and store complete transmitter or magnetizer approach and passage images.

Complementing its Unisig intrusive pig signalers, Pipeline Engineering offers a non-intrusive device to register the passing of cleaning tools. This unit requires a magnet package to be mounted on the cleaning tool. Mounted externally anywhere on the pipeline, the new device is designed to withstand the harshest and most demanding environments.

The latest versions of T.D. Williamson's PIG-SIG[R] NI which produces simple and reliable non-intrusive detection of pig passages anywhere within a pipeline system are now available. The unit is banded on to the pipeline and it immediately begins scanning both for transmitter and permanent magnet-equipped pigs. When pigs do pass, the time and date are displayed on a high contrast LCD screen for the operator, along with a flashing Recent Passage" message. If multiple pig passages have occurred, it is easy to scroll back through the PIG-SIG[R] NI memory and retrieve the date and time of any of the last 10 passages. The unit also initiates a relay contact when pig passages occur, so it can interface with other control systems.

Halliburton Pipeline and Process Services new Hal-AT[TM] system, which was the winner of the Pipeline Industries Guild 2003 Subsea Pipeline Technology Award, is a multi-purpose real time, subsea, wireless data system that can help operators reduce project time and costs.

Applications of the versatile Hal-AT system include pipeline pressure monitoring for virtually any application such as recording pressure anomalies during a pigging run, determining when a pig reaches destination/location, and recording pressure during a hydrotest. Haltrax service enables one or more pig trains to be monitored remotely without requiring an ROV to view externally mounted indicators. Utilizing the system for subsea hydrotesting (Haltest) enables a vessel to move off station to work elsewhere while still monitoring the pressure trend in the pipeline. The unit, when deployed as an integral part of Halliburton's subsea data logger, can offer 100 percent contingency during the testing operation. The primary components of the Hal-AT communication system are a transceiver, deployed from the vessel just below the surface to a maximum depth of 100 meters (328 feet), and a transponder, deployed subsea to water depths of 2,000 meters (6,562 feet).

Haltrax Service pig tracking system uses the Hal AT system as a stand-alone pig tracking/signaling system. To achieve this, gamma ray detectors or magnets are incorporated into the instrumentation of the Hal-AT system to provide a number of "early warning" stations along the pipeline. The pig train(s) can then be monitored acoustically, without the need for an ROV to visually monitor externally mounted indicators.

Cheaper pig hunting is claimed for a new range of microprocessor-driven equipment from Pcom for collecting signals and data. This ranges from sensors that tell the operator a pig has passed to more sophisticated systems that can also record the time and date. The data is displayed locally on the sensor or transmitted to a hand-held or desk-based receiver. The sensors sit on or near the pipe wall and are approved for Zone 1 Explosion Proof environments. Very accurate benchmark systems have recently been added to pinpoint the passing of intelligent pigs and record the time, using an onboard GPS system. Placed above ground, these units are said to "see" pigs even if the pipe is buried as far as 10 meters deep.

The company is about to launch hand-held systems along with a new monitoring system to relay positions of individual pigs at any time. They can even be monitored over the Internet. This system will allow inexpensive tracking over considerable distances. Other monitoring data such as CP can be collected and relayed via any available communications systems using RF, GSM or satellite networks.

ClampOn's DSP Deepwater acoustic monitoring equipment for sub-sea pipeline intelligent pig passage has been making waves. It is qualified to work in up to 13,000 feet of water. Full technical details are given in the article on page 30 of the May issue of P&GJ.

Intelligent Inspection

Operating worldwide, NGKS International Corp. (Canada) is accelerating development of its existing fleet of high resolution ultrasonic and magnetic intelligent tools. Established in 1997, it has successfully completed inspections of over 15,000 km (about 9,400 miles) of geometry and high-resolution corrosion and crack-detection surveys in Europe and FSU. This year has seen the first commercial use of NGKS TFI magnetic crack-detection tools. The data collected by TFI tools, combined with results of MFL surveys, ensure reliable detection of stress corrosion cracking and narrow axial defects. Similar in design to MFL tools, the TFI vehicle employs transverse magnetic field to achieve accurate readings of defect depth. TFI tools are available in sizes from 28-56 inches.

Unlike TFI crack-detection vehicles, ultrasonic technology crack detection (UTCD) tools available from NGKS in sizes from 20-28 inches--locate and accurately measure shallow cracks along with fatigue cracks and scratches with axial orientation. UCDT Tools can be used in both oil and gas pipelines (in liquid batches).

The company now offers a CD/WM combo tool to enable metal-loss and crack detection survey to be done by one tool. The new state-of-the-art vehicle provides complete pipeline integrity data at optimum cost. The new technology has passed through successful testing. The company's development plans include speed-control devices for gas pipelines and construction of small-diameter crack-detection tools and combination UT+TFI tools.

Analytic Pipe GmbH claims its internationally available caliper tools (a range of 21 units from 6-60 inches) can be put on site within days with a 96 percent first-run success rate. A modular system allows speedy production of up to four tools in the same size. Bend detection is available and the company will offer a multi-channel system soon. All data interpretation and reporting is in digital format. Sometimes a preliminary report with anomalies can be supplied within one hour of deployment for urgent repair work to start. Final reports can usually be supplied, if necessary, within 48 hours of receipt of the tool. Defects can be found accurately with the use of its sensitive odometer system in combination with a time-marker system.

The latest generation of tethered ultrasonic inspection tools for the "unpiggable" pipeline is available from Rontgen Technische Dienst by (RTD). RTD has long specialized in the ultra sonic inspection of pipelines that cannot be pigged with regular intelligent pigs. Areas of application include submarine (off)loading pipelines, offshore risers from platforms to main lines or wellhead and dual-diameter pipelines. Custom-made tool modifications are regularly required to cope with the various circumstances.

All inspection tools are tethered for on-line control and for instant display of the inspection results. The umbilical is specially reinforced, allowing tool retrieval at all times--an important safety factor as such pipelines are often the "lifeline" of an installation. Many inspection tools are equipped with a traction module of their own. This has the advantage that no further assistance in the form of diver support vessels, divers, pumps to drive the tool and liquid handling is required to perform the inspection. This saves significant costs. Moreover, down-time can be kept to a minimum as the inspection is performed at speeds of up to 500 meters/hour.

The range now available covers lines with diameters between 6-48 inches and handles umbilicals with lengths of up to 17 km (>10 miles). This allows the inspection of almost any loading line known in the world. For platfornt risers, they offer various tethered tools, even with modules to perform weld-inspection with TOFD (Time Of Flight Defraction) for accurate sizing of defects in the circumferential weld.

One of RTD's latest developments is a unique small-diameter traction module. This allows inspection of complex riser configurations, with bends and horizontal segments, including traversing the connecting horizontal pipeline on the seabed. On line presentation of the results permits on-the-spot evaluation of the pipeline's condition, and new software modules even allow maximum allowable operation pressures calculations for immediate action.

Enduro Pipeline Services's newest DigiTel Data Logger inspection tool can determine the size and location of anomalies and many other features/defects. These include mapping of the line, sub-meter GPS coordinates, bend analysis for direction and angle, river crossing profiles and pipeline benchmarking for better excavation points with anomaly locations to o'clock positions.

The merits of Magpie Systems Inc. (recently acquired by T.D. Williamson) inspection pigs have been making their mark. Said to be smart, simple and reliable, they are MFI tools especially effective in detecting metal loss in pipelines and capable of handling demanding requirements. Offered currently are diameters from 4-30 inches although a 36 inch version should be available shortly. Magpie also offers a time-based, aboveground marker (AGM) system to provide accurate location readings of pipeline anomalies. This little monitor, which has inbuilt GPS and Bluetooth wireless technology, is easily placed and retrieved in the field.

3P Services has an innovative, high-performance 4-inch ILI MTL tool that can negotiate standard elbows of a radius 1.5-inch, which is suitable for Schedule 40 as well as Schedule 80 line pipe. The new tool has the same micro-electronics for data storage as used in its successful 3-inch tool but a new magnetization and sensor unit.

Cornerstone Pipeline Inspection Group (CPIG) has incorporated a new concept the ReSolve[TM] analysis software and 4-Step ReSolve[TM] process optimization software--within its latest ILI tools. These permit the highest resolution inspection results, even in difficult lines, it is claimed.

Exciting developments in pig tracking and monitoring are forecast by Inline, following its agreement with electronic design specialist SED in the Netherlands to provide some unique technology for leak detection, pig detection and pipeline integrity assessment. The new developments will offer what are claimed to be unparalleled pig tracking and monitoring capabilities, including wireless remote detector indication for above/underground and sub-sea pipes. SED has also developed intelligent pig inserts which enable data to be programmed into and collected from a pig, inventory control, and a unique pipe-listening system that will constantly monitor the pipeline and relay any noise (including leaks, damage) to a central station.

Latest technology available from GE Oil & Gas' PII Pipeline Solutions includes EMATScan. This is essentially a means of introducing ultrasound into a pipeline without the need for liquid coupling. EMAT tools have been tried previously for metal loss inspection, but not with a great degree of success. High power requirements and low signal levels are some of the difficulties encountered. A novel form of EMAT tool can now inspect cracking in pipelines. The tool has a target inspection specification similar to the UltraScan CD tool, but does not need to be run with liquid couplant, making it ideally suited to operation in gas pipelines.

SCC cracking and as a result--inspection--is a major issue for some pipeline operators, so the UltraScan CD tool, introduced several years ago, has been fine-tuned. Operation is based on the use of a high-resolution array of ultrasonic transducers arranged to fire ultrasonic shear waves at 45 degrees to the pipe surface. This dense array of sensors is the key to providing high resolution with good discrimination during the inspection. The CD tool can now reliably detect cracks 1 mm deep x 30 mm long which enables it to find SCC before it becomes critical to the pipeline. The tool is ideally suited to liquids pipelines. For gas lines it can be run in a batch of liquid to provide the necessary coupling of the ultrasound to the pipe wall.

Multi-diameter inspection is vital because much of the world's pipeline infrastructure is currently classified as unpiggable, For example, North America has approximately 1 million km (625,000 miles) of high pressure transmission pipelines. Over 85 percent of these were constructed before MFL-inspection tools were commercially available, and some 40-50 percent of the pipeline infrastructure is regarded as unpiggable due to factors such as diameter changes and reduced bore valves. PII has developed specific MDPT (multi diameter inspection tools) which have overcome many problems with affordable tools. However, the challenge for the pipeline integrity industry is to continue to develop solutions to inspect these lines at a price which is commercially attractive compared with the cost of modifying the lines to make them piggable.

With all of this new technology available to pipeline operators, it is essential that selection and development of appropriate solutions occur. PII has continued to develop the concept of Total Pipeline Integrity (TPI). This takes all the best-of-breed product technology available and combines this long experience to create a real-world, solutions-based, integrity management program.
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Title Annotation:Vital Industry Progresses
Comment:Pigging today is a mature, sophisticated science at last.(Vital Industry Progresses)
Author:Clark, Bryan
Publication:Pipeline & Gas Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2003
Words:3231
Previous Article:Buyer's guide.
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